Maps: Below Normal Snowfall Expected for Most of Prairies

The winter season may not do much to improve the dryness and drought that is currently plaguing portions of Western Canada, according to AccuWeather.

In its seasonal forecast released Wednesday, AccuWeather suggested that snowfall this winter will be below normal across most of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as much of northern and eastern Alberta (see map below).

In his accompanying commentary, Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said there will be two distinct storm tracks that will dominate much of the country this winter. The first storm track should deliver well above normal snowfall in B.C. and the extreme western edge of Alberta, while the second – which will extend from the US central Plains through southern Ontario and into Quebec – will bring generally milder winter temperatures but plenty of snow for northern Ontario and Quebec.

In between, however, much of Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be out of luck.

"As is usually the case, many of these storms will weaken as they cross the Rockies and into the Prairies, thus we expect below-average snowfall throughout a large portion of the Prairies as the other main storm track will likely be too far to the south," Anderson said.

Much of the main Western Canada agricultural region has been trending much drier since the end of July, with large areas seeing only 40 to 60% of normal precipitation over the past 90 days. In some pockets, precipitation has amounted to just 40% or less of normal. The continuation of below normal precipitation through the winter could leave the Prairies with precious little snowmelt in the spring to bolster topsoil moisture ahead of planting.

As for temperatures, AccuWeather said the Prairies will “endure a fair share of bitterly cold air plunging down from the Arctic this season, but the punishing cold is expected to come and go more quickly than usual.”

In southern Ontario this winter, the lack of sustained cold means many storms may begin as snow then transition into either ice or rain. Ice cover on the Great Lakes is also expected to average below normal this season.

snowfall departure

temp departure

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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